Her Love For Her Mother Prompted One Woman To Build A Culinary Empire

Every year, The Singapore Women’s Weekly shines the spotlight on 18 outstanding, high-achieving working women in the Great Women Of Our Time awards. These inspiring pioneers and game-changers are making an impact in different arenas in Singapore. In this series, we introduce the nominees in this year's awards. Here is the first nominee in the Finance & Commerce category:

Tay Su-Lyn, 41, Founding Partner, Violet Oon Singapore

In meeting Violet Oon’s daughter, Su-Lyn, one is first struck by her quiet beauty. But once she begins speaking, you are then enraptured by her business savvy and undulating love for her mother’s legacy.

That is, after all, the primary reason why Violet Oon Singapore exists today in its current glory.

“We grew up with this culinary icon in our kitchen, and just hearing her stories of Peranakan heritage day in and day out. The thought of losing her wealth of knowledge on recipes and the like was just daunting,” Su-Lyn says.

“So, we decided to turn her life’s work into a restaurant business. My mum had a brand so what I’ve done with my brother [Tay Yiming] is essentially give her a platform to elevate it.”

Having carved a culinary empire out of food, Violet already has several cookbooks, TV shows and magazine columns to her name but what her children aimed to do with their new venture (an iteration of Violet Oon’s Kitchen) is give Singaporean food the best treatment, environment and respect possible.

“You know that Peranakan hospitality where you invite people into your home to makan? We wanted to keep that DNA alive with the branding of Violet Oon’s Kitchen,” says Su-Lyn.

“But at the same time, we want to give diners an experiential dining experience and give Singaporean food the respect it deserves. It’s not fine dining per se, but we want to offer something that comes from the heart, that will attract people from all generations.”